How Did Robert Herjavec Get Rich? Secrets of a Shark Tank Titan

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Ever wondered how Robert Herjavec, the charismatic shark from “Shark Tank,” built his fortune? It’s a story of grit, innovation, and the classic rags-to-riches journey. Starting with a humble beginning, Herjavec’s path to wealth is nothing short of inspiring.

From waiting tables to launching one of the most successful cybersecurity firms, Herjavec’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and hard work. Let’s dive into how he turned his dreams into a multi-million dollar reality.

Key Takeaways

  • Robert Herjavec’s wealth is attributed to his unwavering perseverance, adaptability, and keen business acumen, starting from humble beginnings to becoming a renowned tech mogul and Shark Tank investor.
  • His early life in Canada, marked by financial constraints and odd jobs, cultivated a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit, highlighting the importance of grit and the value of each experience.
  • The sale of his cybersecurity firm, BRAK Systems, to AT&T Canada for $30.2 million was a pivotal moment in his career, showcasing the impact of seizing the right opportunities and understanding market needs.
  • Herjavec capitalized on the burgeoning field of cybersecurity by founding BRAK Systems from his basement, demonstrating foresight and the ability to sell and persuade businesses on the importance of digital security.
  • His role on Shark Tank not only expanded his business portfolio but also built his brand as a savvy investor and business leader, offering invaluable lessons on negotiation, strategy, and the art of the pitch.
  • Herjavec’s journey from waiting tables to tech entrepreneur and TV personality embodies the classic rags-to-riches story, emphasizing that success often requires resilience, continuous learning, and leveraging every opportunity, no matter how small.

Early Life and Background

Imagine stepping off a boat in a new country with only $20 in your pocket and dreams too big to be contained. That’s exactly what Robert Herjavec’s family did. They arrived in Canada, fleeing from Communist Yugoslavia, seeking a better life.

Herjavec’s early years were a far cry from the luxury he enjoys today. His family lived in the basement of a family friend’s home for 18 months. Robert’s father took odd jobs, from sweeping floors to factory work, to support them. This instilled in Robert a deep appreciation for hard work and perseverance.

As a young man, Herjavec’s entrepreneurial spark began to flicker. He sold newspapers to pay for his university expenses, showcasing early signs of his business acumen. His degree in English literature might not scream “future millionaire,” but it laid the foundation for his communications skills, crucial for any entrepreneur.

After college, Herjavec took various jobs, including waiting tables and selling computer parts. It wasn’t glamorous, but it taught him invaluable lessons about sales, customer service, and, most importantly, the value of staying resilient in the face of rejection.

Interestingly, Herjavec’s foray into the tech industry wasn’t planned. He spotted a job ad for a computer company, applied, and got the job despite his limited tech knowledge. His willingness to learn and adapt was a game-changer. He absorbed everything he could about technology and soon moved up the ranks.

This period of Herjavec’s life wasn’t just about building professional experience; it was about cultivating the relentless drive and adaptability that would define his career. Every job, every challenge, and every setback taught him lessons that he’d carry with him on his journey to wealth and success.

Remember, it’s not just about where you start, but how you grow, learn, and persevere through the challenges.

From Humble Beginnings to Waiting Tables

Imagine landing in a new country with nothing but hope and the drive to succeed. That’s exactly how Robert Herjavec’s journey to riches began. His family’s move to Canada wasn’t just a change of scenery—it was a leap into an unknown future where hard work and perseverance were the only guarantees for success.

Starting from ground zero, Robert knew that every opportunity, no matter how small, had the potential to lead to something bigger. That’s why, when he started waiting tables, he didn’t just see it as a job to pay the bills; he saw it as a masterclass in customer service and sales. Each interaction was an opportunity to learn how to read people, understand their needs, and exceed their expectations—skills that are priceless in any business.

But don’t let the glamour of entrepreneurship fool you. The road was anything but easy. Long hours, juggling studies, and working multiple jobs were all in a day’s work for Robert. Yet, it was this relentless grind that laid the foundation of his entrepreneurial spirit. The value of a dollar, the importance of saving, and the art of bootstrapping were lessons learned not from textbooks but from real-life experiences.

Perhaps the most critical takeaway from this phase of Robert’s life was the understanding that everyone starts somewhere. Whether you’re waiting tables, washing cars, or launching your first side-hustle, it’s the lessons you learn and the grit you develop during these early days that shape your path to success. So, if you’re dreaming of building your own empire, remember that even the highest skyscrapers start with a single brick.

The Turning Point: Selling the Computer Company

After years of relentless work and determination, the turning point in Robert Herjavec’s journey to wealth came with the sale of his computer company, BRAK Systems. This wasn’t just a sale; it was a monumental shift in his career, one that positioned him as a formidable force in the tech industry.

Having started BRAK Systems out of his basement, Herjavec’s focus was on internet security, a niche that was just beginning to gain attention. Your own endeavors in online businesses and startups might resonate with the early struggles Herjavec faced. The road to success is hardly ever linear, and for him, it was paved with continuous learning and adaptation to the ever-evolving tech landscape.

In 2000, Herjavec made the bold decision to sell BRAK Systems to AT&T Canada for a staggering $30.2 million. Here’s a quick glance at the figures that marked this milestone:

2000Sale of BRAK Systems to AT&T$30.2 Million

This sale was more than just an exit; it was a validation of Herjavec’s belief in the value of technology and security, topics that you, as an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, know are paramount in today’s digital age. The transaction not only afforded Herjavec financial freedom but also earned him a reputation as an astute businessman whose insights and experiences were sought after in the industry.

Leveraging this sale, Herjavec didn’t rest on his laurels. Instead, he embarked on further business ventures, each furthering his influence and success in the tech world. As you delve into side-hustles and online businesses, Herjavec’s journey underscores the importance of persistence, continuous learning, and seizing opportunities, even when they seem daunting.

The sale of BRAK Systems was a pivotal moment, setting the stage for Robert Herjavec’s future ventures and his rise to prominence. As you navigate your own path in startups and online businesses, remember that each step, no matter how small, can lead to your turning point.

The Bold Move: Starting a Cybersecurity Firm

After selling newspapers and juggling multiple jobs, you’d think Robert Herjavec might take a moment to catch his breath. But true to form for any relentless entrepreneur, he saw a gap in the market and leapt at the opportunity. This phase of his journey underlines a crucial lesson for anyone with an eye for business: spotting an opportunity and acting swiftly could be the game-changer.

At a time when the internet was just beginning to weave into the fabric of daily business operations, Herjavec envisioned the immense potential and, equally, the vast risks involved. Cybersecurity wasn’t the buzzword it is today. Most companies weren’t even thinking about digital threats. That’s exactly where Herjavec found his golden opportunity. He founded BRAK Systems from his basement, a daring move that mirrored the classic tech startup dream.

However, don’t think it was all smooth sailing. Imagine trying to convince businesses to invest in protecting themselves against threats they couldn’t see or fully understand. That’s where Herjavec’s sales and customer service skills really paid off. Selling cybersecurity in the early 90s required not just understanding the technology but also the art of persuasion. He had to make the invisible, visible and the intangible, tangible to potential clients.

BRAK Systems focused on providing comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, from firewalls to secure network infrastructure. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, with the digital explosion of the late 90s and early 2000s. Businesses began to realize the importance of cybersecurity, propelling BRAK Systems into the spotlight as a leading firm in the field.

The sale of BRAK Systems wasn’t just a financial win for Herjavec; it was a testament to his foresight, perseverance, and salesmanship. Starting a cybersecurity firm right at the dawn of the internet era was no small feat. It required vision, guts, and the kind of hustle you’re probably familiar with as you work on your startups and side-hustles.

Shark Tank and the Rise to Fame

After the sale of BRAK Systems, you might think Robert Herjavec would’ve taken a well-deserved break. But in true entrepreneurial spirit, he didn’t rest on his laurels. Instead, he founded the Herjavec Group, diving even deeper into the world of cybersecurity. But it was his next move that truly catapulted him into the public eye.

In 2009, Herjavec joined the cast of Shark Tank, a TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of investors, hoping for investment to grow their dreams into reality. This platform wasn’t just a chance for him to invest in new companies; it was a masterstroke that brought his savvy business sense into living rooms across America.

Shark Tank wasn’t just entertainment; it was a masterclass in negotiation, business strategy, and the art of the pitch. For you, a budding entrepreneur, watching Herjavec navigate these waters was like attending a top-tier business school for free. His keen eye for value and unwavering commitment to due diligence were lessons in themselves.

On Shark Tank, Robert Herjavec’s approach stood out. He often gravitated towards tech-driven companies or those with a heartfelt story, reflecting not just his business acumen but his personal ethos too. Over the seasons, some of his investments turned into massive successes, further solidifying his status as a titan in the business world.

Moreover, his presence on Shark Tank did more than just add to his portfolio; it built his brand. Herjavec became a household name, synonymous with business success and integrity. For someone like you, interested in the intersection of online business, startups, and side hustles, Herjavec’s journey offers invaluable insights. From launching a company from his basement to becoming a beloved TV personality and successful investor, his path underscores the power of resilience, the importance of adaptation, and the endless possibilities that the digital age offers for entrepreneurs.


Robert Herjavec’s journey from selling newspapers to becoming a revered figure on “Shark Tank” is a testament to the power of resilience and adaptability. His story exemplifies that with the right mindset and work ethic, obstacles can transform into stepping stones toward success. Whether it was waiting tables or navigating the complexities of the tech industry, Herjavec’s willingness to learn and embrace challenges laid the groundwork for his remarkable achievements. Remember, it’s not just about the destination but the journey and the lessons learned along the way. Let Herjavec’s story inspire you to pursue your dreams with the same tenacity and openness to learning. Who knows? Your entrepreneurial spirit might just be the next big thing in the digital age.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Robert Herjavec build his fortune?

Robert Herjavec built his fortune primarily through the sale of his computer company, BRAK Systems, for $30.2 million. He further increased his wealth by founding the Herjavec Group and making strategic investments on the TV show “Shark Tank.”

What challenges did Robert Herjavec face in his early life?

In his early life, Robert Herjavec and his family faced the challenges of immigration, struggling to make a living in Canada. Herjavec also juggled multiple jobs, including waiting tables, to pay for his university expenses, learning valuable lessons in sales and customer service.

How did “Shark Tank” influence Robert Herjavec’s career?

“Shark Tank” offered Robert Herjavec a platform to showcase his astute business sense and negotiation skills. His investments in various businesses on the show further solidified his status as a business titan and contributed to his already impressive fortune.

What is the significance of resilience in Robert Herjavec’s success story?

Resilience played a pivotal role in Robert Herjavec’s success story. Despite the initial struggles and challenges he faced, Herjavec’s willingness to learn, adapt, and persevere, especially in the tech industry, paved the way for his eventual success and wealth.

How has the digital age influenced entrepreneurial success, according to the article?

According to the article, the digital age has opened up endless possibilities for entrepreneurs. It emphasizes that with resilience, adaptation, and a willingness to learn, aspiring entrepreneurs can leverage the opportunities presented by the digital world to achieve significant success, much like Robert Herjavec did.